NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

An in-depth look at the April 22nd special election: Results from across the state

Although the demise of King Coun­ty Propo­si­tion 1 was the most note­wor­thy out­come of last night’s spe­cial elec­tion, it’s impor­tant to remem­ber there were oth­er mea­sures on the bal­lot as well.  Accord­ing to the Wash­ing­ton Sec­re­tary of State’s office, there were thir­ty-five bal­lot mea­sure on the bal­lot across the state.

Turnout was depressed this April, which is no dif­fer­ent than oth­er spe­cial elec­tions in our state, with only about 20–30% of eli­gi­ble vot­ers cast­ing their bal­lots in the spe­cial elec­tion. While we aren’t going to go into detail about all of them, here are some of the impor­tant results which came out of last night.

Propo­si­tion 1: Neigh­bor­hood Parks & Zoo Improve­ments and Safe­ty Upgrades

Vot­ers in Taco­ma were asked to approve a $198 mil­lion dol­lar bond to be used for pre­serv­ing parks and pro­tect­ing nat­ur­al areas, water­front access, and local land­marks. This mon­ey would also be used to update ani­mal care sys­tems and safe­ty at the Point Defi­ance Park, Zoo and Aquar­i­um in order to main­tain nation­al accred­i­ta­tion. A major attrac­tion in the area, the Zoo wouldn’t be able to obtain high-atten­tion ani­mals with­out the ren­o­va­tions fund­ed by the bal­lot mea­sure. About a third of the rev­enue will go towards the Zoo.

Vot­ers in the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Park Dis­trict of Taco­ma found it impor­tant to fund all of these improve­ments, and more than 63% of the bal­lots count­ed by Elec­tion Night vot­ed yes. This is a result unlike­ly to change as more bal­lots are count­ed.

Spokane Val­ley Library Cap­i­tal Facil­i­ties Area Propo­si­tion 1 &2

Spokane Val­ley, the City of Spokane’s more con­ser­v­a­tive neigh­bor (and a munic­i­pal­i­ty whose idea of eco­nom­ic revi­tal­iza­tion was putting shrub­bery in the medi­ans on the high­way a cou­ple of years ago) vot­ed yes­ter­day on two propo­si­tions, whether they should estab­lish a Library Cap­i­tal Facil­i­ties Area to raise rev­enue for library con­struc­tion and ren­o­va­tion (Prop. 1).

Spokane Val­ley vot­ers also were asked to decide whether to approve a $22 mil­lion bond to fund those projects. In this elec­tion, the peo­ple of Spokane Val­ley spoke in strong sup­port for their pub­lic libraries and agreed to estab­lish the Cap­i­tal Facil­i­ties Area and fund the bond by around 58% and 54%, respec­tive­ly.

Okanogan Coun­ty Methow Val­ley Recre­ation Dis­trict

In this spe­cial elec­tion about 6,000 vot­ers in Okanogan Coun­ty were decid­ing whether or not to cre­ate a park dis­trict. The Methow Val­ley Recre­ation Dis­trict, as it would be called, would sup­port com­mu­ni­ty-based recre­ation facil­i­ties which are acces­si­ble both phys­i­cal­ly and finan­cial­ly for res­i­dents.

Instead of wait­ing until after the deci­sion was made about whether the dis­trict should be estab­lished, an elec­tion was held con­cur­rent­ly for poten­tial com­mis­sion­ers of the dis­trict, the only can­di­date elec­tion this April. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the mea­sure failed with only 380 out of 1,905 votes cast in favor of the cre­ation of the dis­trict.

In one of the quirks of this elec­tion, each of the win­ners of the com­mis­sion­er races to gov­ern the dis­trict received more votes for their elec­tion than the num­ber of votes in favor of the actu­al cre­ation of the Recre­ation Dis­trict itself.

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